It's fun, sure, but it's not necessarily easy playing a sitcom lush. Jennifer Esposito of ABC's Samantha Who? (Mondays at 9:30 pm/ET) reveals the perils of pounding mock-tails, hints at what makes outrageous Andrea tick, and previews big tension with upcoming guest star Mary-Kate Olsen. Plus: Esposito shares the surprising reason why one costar wants to kill her.
TVGuide.com: The last time you spoke with us, you described Andrea as "really despicable." Do you still feel that way?
Jennifer Esposito: Despicable? No, I don't think she's despicable. Because of some of her behavior, people would think she's evil, yes. But when you look beyond that, you see she's really insecure. Anyone who acts that self-obsessed is coming from a place of pain. But that's not necessarily funny. What's funny is looking at these things she does to cover. She's outrageous, she says what's on her mind, and she's very, very out there. People love to hate her.
TVGuide.com: What new things will we learn about Andrea this season?
Esposito: We're going to learn more of what I just talked about, her insecurities. A little bit more of what makes her tick. Hopefully, we'll start seeing more of the underneath, to see why Samantha is even still friends with her.
TVGuide.com: Andrea is going to fall hard for a basketball player, I understand.
Esposito: Yes, she does, she does…. And that comes with some things she has to overcome there. You see a softer side of her that is definitely affected by what takes place.
TVGuide.com: You're swilling, of course, fake cocktails there on the set. But still, do you ever get a bit loopy from kicking back those cockamamie concoctions?
Esposito: No, but you do get a stomach ache. It's usually some form or grape juice and something, but sometimes I make them do water with a food coloring. Too much grape juice is not good. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Mary-Kate Olsen is guest-starring soon as a bad girl whom Sam wants to turn good. Does Andrea fight on the girl's behalf?
Esposito: No, I'm actually not sticking up for her. She doesn't trust her character at all, so she tries to warn Samantha about her.
TVGuide.com: Melissa McCarthy told me she's more than game for an all-out smackdown between Dena and Andrea. And you?
Esposito: Are you kidding, I would love it. The meaner I am to Dena, the more we like it. So to those people who don't want to see us be mean to each other, it's never going to happen. Melissa and I are dear friends, so it's a lot of fun.
TVGuide.com: In the season premiere, we got Christina Applegate dancing around Sam's apartment, naked. Is Andrea next?
Esposito: It's funny — I put on a jacket in one of the scenes yesterday and the producer was like, "Uh-uh. Take the jacket off. We pay too much money to not see all this!" He was totally joking, but who knows what they're going to do with Andrea!
TVGuide.com: Assuming it's not Andrea or the tough gal you played on Rescue Me last season, which of your roles has been most close to yourself?
Esposito: Hmm, that's a good question. To play a character you have to find something, even the slightest thing, that you can relate to. So I think there's a piece of you in every character. I did an Italian production over the summer, and that character was most like me. She was a little goofy and quirky, and not as sure as you would think I would be about things. I always play very outrageous people, but that's not who I am.
TVGuide.com: Melissa's answer to this question was her collection of wigs. What might people be surprised to know about Jennifer Esposito?
Esposito: That I'm Betty Crocker. I love cooking and I talk about food probably 90 percent of the day. Melissa wants to kill me because she's been watching what she eats and taking care of herself, and here I come with pumpkin fitters and donuts that I make in the morning and bring to work. I'm actually ready to move into a new place and one of my major concerns is not if there's an alarm system, but what the stove is like. I'm bringing my favorite pot to see if it fits on the stove. I can't deal with an improper stove!